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Pay in working class jobs

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Research and reports
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Who’s doing working class jobs?

Working class stereotypes often portray those in working class jobs as white and male. But we know that for decades, the working classes have been a highly diverse group – more so than those in the highest paid jobs.

Chart 5: Women as a proportion of those in jobs across the pay distribution

Chart 5: Women as a proportion of those in jobs across the pay distribution
Source: TUC analysis of LFS 2002-2018, average of all quarters

Our analysis looked at race and gender. It shows that:

  • Women still do most low paid jobs. Women still form the majority (55 per cent) of those in the bottom half of the pay distribution, and women are a significant majority of those in the lowest paid jobs – making up 64 per cent of those earning below 75 per cent of median pay.
  • In contrast, women make up just 39 per cent of those in the highest paid jobs (and 43 per cent of those on above median pay). Overall, just under half of jobs (49 per cent) are done by women.
  • There’s been some improvement since 2002, when women made up 70 per cent of those in the lowest paid jobs, and just 32 per cent of those in the highest paid, but access to high paid work is still clearly highly gendered.

Chart 6: BME employees as a proportion of those in jobs in different sections of the pay distribution

Chart 6: BME employees as a proportion of those in jobs in different sections of the pay distribution
Source: TUC analysis of LFS 2002-2018, average of all quarters
  • Black and minority ethnic (BME) employees are over-represented in the lowest paid jobs. Looking at the whole bottom half of the pay distribution, BME employees do 12 per cent of all jobs – reflecting their share in the working population as a whole. But when we look at the lowest paid jobs, BME employees are over-represented, with 15 per cent of these jobs done by people from a BME background.
  • BME employees are under-represented in the highest paid jobs, with just 10 per cent of workers in jobs paid twice the median wage coming from a BME background. As the population has become more diverse, BME employees' representation in the labour market overall has risen significantly; 12 per cent of all employees are now BME, up from 6 per cent in 2002.